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Thread: Picking up my second LF camera in the Washington, DC suburbs

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Dec 2017
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    Picking up my second LF camera in the Washington, DC suburbs

    I am old enough to remember when New Wave music was ah....new as well as when people shot on film because it was the only thing to shoot on. Got my dad's old Brownie when I was probably 10 and bought my own 110 when I started working in the late 1970's. Snuck it in when I want to see KISS and Cheap Trick and in the 1980's started photographing bands in Washington, DC. Got a Nikon N2000 in the late 1980's. Grabbed a DSLR in 2008 as I landed a gig photographing the beautiful people in DC's dance clubs. Past couple of years slowly migrated back to film and branched out to pinhole, toy, and medium format. Last December while in Florida found a Crown Graphic with a 127mm, case, and a few holders for $100.

    On Sunday 4/26 I am supposed to pick up a Calumet monorail camera for $50. I was told the bellows was OK but I will bring a flashlight along to check it just to be sure. I will have to get a lens board and lens. Are the lens boards proprietary? Can I stick any old lens board in my camera? As for a lens I could go with either a 90 or 210 as I will be mainly shooting old buildings, barns, urban blight, faded Americana, but I also want to shoot people as well. If you have lenses that you love for under $200 I'd love to hear about them. I wonder if it's better to buy a lens from KEH, Used Photo Pro, B&H etc. I'd hate to buy something and 3 weeks have a problem with it.

    I manage a Facebook group for Washington DC Area Film Photographers and a Flickr group for Mid Atlantic Medium Format Photographers

    I'm mikeratel on Flickr and Instagram

    Looking forward to diving deep into this rabbit hole.

    Y'all be safe now

  2. #2

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    Re: Picking up my second LF camera in the Washington, DC suburbs

    If your Calumet is an old metal CC-400, it will take just about any 4"x4" lens board...

  3. #3

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    Re: Picking up my second LF camera in the Washington, DC suburbs

    Mike, Dugan answered your lens board question. There are a number of “what lens” threads in the lens sub-forum. When I bought my first 4x5 about 50 years ago, the now-defunct Olden Camera recommended a 180 as my first lens. I still have my Congo 180/6.3, less expensive (but not quite as good as) than lenses from the bigger manufacturers. A bit later Fred Picker (another thread) recommended a 210 as a first lens, so I have and still use my Schneider 210/5.6. Over the years, a 150 Rodenstock has become my most used lens. For me, an 80 or 90 is more for indoor use or situations where I can’t move around freely. My experiences buying used from KEH have been excellent, and their quality ratings are conservative, I.e. the item is usually in better condition than you might expect.

  4. #4

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    Re: Picking up my second LF camera in the Washington, DC suburbs

    The later Calumet cameras used a larger lens board then the early 4x4 on the CC-400. They shared boards with the Cambo cameras. One company bought out the other. They also made a Cambo/Calumet reduction board so you could use the smaller Technika boards. If you buy a later camera then you might want to start watching this forum and eBay for that reduction board. They are nice to have!

    This forum and KEH are excellent places to buy lenses. There are a lot of lenses available on eBay and occasionally on Craigslist. Just realize that "speeds sound good to my ear" doesn't always mean an accurate shutter. I own a shutter speed tester and test my lens shutters. Some I've bought on eBay are accurate and some are not, so I figure on a CLA before I buy.

    I'm 58. You sound about my age, Mike.

    Welcome to the forum!

    Alan

  5. #5

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    Re: Picking up my second LF camera in the Washington, DC suburbs

    The later Calumet cameras used a larger lens board then the early 4x4 on the CC-400. They shared boards with the Cambo cameras. One company bought out the other. They also made a Cambo/Calumet reduction board so you could use the smaller Technika boards. If you buy a later camera then you might want to start watching this forum and eBay for that reduction board. They are nice to have!

    This forum and KEH are excellent places to buy lenses. There are a lot of lenses available on eBay and occasionally on Craigslist. Just realize that "speeds sound good to my ear" doesn't always mean an accurate shutter. I own a shutter speed tester and test my lens shutters. Some I've bought on eBay are accurate and some are not, so I figure on a CLA before I buy.

    Quote Originally Posted by Alan Gales View Post
    I'm 58. You sound about my age, Mike.

    Welcome to the forum!

    Alan
    Alan, I am a year younger at 57. I bought a "bargain" Hasselblad 500 ELM from KEH a year or so ago and it was a beauty.
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    I know the camera is a Calumet, I just don't know which model. It was a Craigslist find that I found for $50. I need a lens, lens board, and tripod. I have a Matthews M25 tripod which is great but the head needs replacing. Right now I have a Best Buy special which will do in a pinch.

  6. #6

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    Re: Picking up my second LF camera in the Washington, DC suburbs

    I used these for many years on the job- real workhorse cameras. As far as the different models go, I believe that the CC-400 is the standard model, with a 16" long rail. The CC-401 has a 22" rail, otherwise identical. There is also a wide-angle model, the CC-402(?) with a short rail and bag bellows.

  7. #7

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    Re: Picking up my second LF camera in the Washington, DC suburbs

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Ratel View Post
    The later Calumet cameras used a larger lens board then the early 4x4 on the CC-400. They shared boards with the Cambo cameras. One company bought out the other. They also made a Cambo/Calumet reduction board so you could use the smaller Technika boards. If you buy a later camera then you might want to start watching this forum and eBay for that reduction board. They are nice to have!

    This forum and KEH are excellent places to buy lenses. There are a lot of lenses available on eBay and occasionally on Craigslist. Just realize that "speeds sound good to my ear" doesn't always mean an accurate shutter. I own a shutter speed tester and test my lens shutters. Some I've bought on eBay are accurate and some are not, so I figure on a CLA before I buy.



    Alan, I am a year younger at 57. I bought a "bargain" Hasselblad 500 ELM from KEH a year or so ago and it was a beauty.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    I know the camera is a Calumet, I just don't know which model. It was a Craigslist find that I found for $50. I need a lens, lens board, and tripod. I have a Matthews M25 tripod which is great but the head needs replacing. Right now I have a Best Buy special which will do in a pinch.
    Oh, a youngster!

    The pictures that you show are of a Calumet CC-400. I've never owned one myself. I'd check this forum, KEH and eBay for lens boards. You may have the best luck on eBay. You may even be able to make boards for that camera yourself. Just make sure that you have the correct hole size for the shutter that you buy. Most shutters come in Copal 0, Copal 1 or Copal 3 sizes so just buy a lens board with the corresponding hole size.

  8. #8

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    Re: Picking up my second LF camera in the Washington, DC suburbs

    I am very excited. Today I picked up a Schneider 210mm F5.6 Symmar-S MC for $150 shipped on ebay. I gotta go find a lens board now.

  9. #9
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    Re: Picking up my second LF camera in the Washington, DC suburbs

    Did you pickup the camera? I'd not be too concerned about the bellows as that can be replaced. The knobs and locking mechanisms, if inoperable or faulty, could be difficult to repair without a second donor camera. Though from the pictures it looks like it is in fantastic condition. Great find!!
    I helped a friend buy a craigslist $100 Graflex View 4x5 about ten years ago and have not seen many sub $100 view cameras since.

  10. #10

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    Re: Picking up my second LF camera in the Washington, DC suburbs

    Quote Originally Posted by ic-racer View Post
    Did you pickup the camera? I'd not be too concerned about the bellows as that can be replaced. The knobs and locking mechanisms, if inoperable or faulty, could be difficult to repair without a second donor camera. Though from the pictures it looks like it is in fantastic condition. Great find!!
    I helped a friend buy a craigslist $100 Graflex View 4x5 about ten years ago and have not seen many sub $100 view cameras since.
    I did pick up the camera and it's a gem. All knobs work and I ran a flash light under the bellows to look for light leaks. I picked up a Schneider 210mm F5.6 Symmar-S MC w/Shutter for $150 shipped off of ebay from Robert's Camera. I am researching what lens board I will need.

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